Learning to live without a parent is difficult — it doesn't get easier, just more bearable as time goes on. Just ask Amy Walsh.
Searching for a way to do something in her mother's memory, the Santa Rosa Beach resident decided to follow the example set by family members in Michigan and has founded Fore Her in South Walton, a golf tournament to benefit those fighting breast cancer and suffering from the financial drain it brings.
After Walsh's mother and aunt both passed away within a year of each other after battling breast cancer, family members in Michigan wanted to do something in memory of them. A lot of the family members enjoy golf and decided to do a golf outing in 2000 to celebrate the lives and memories of Jeanette Hansen and Barb Schultz. They then decided to make it an annual event. And then, someone said, why not raise money as a benefit while we do it?
Those relatives participated in the 13th annual Fore Her event in Michigan in September.
"When I told my husband that I felt that something was missing, he suggested I start my own charity, patterned after the one in Michigan, and I agreed," said Walsh.
The first annual For Her golf outing South Walton will be held Oct. 26 at The Links golf course at Sandestin with a shotgun start at noon.
Registration is at 11 a.m. Cost is $75, which includes golf, cart, and food afterwards. There will also be a silent auction.
All proceeds from the event will go to women diagnosed with breast cancer who are suffering under the financial drain of paying for medical bills due to the illness.
"This will benefit women who need help paying their mortgage or car payments, or to help them buy food," said Walsh.
She says her family is all too familiar with the need for additional money when a member of the family is going through treatment for breast cancer. Her mother was diagnosed at age 40, and went into remission before it returned and she succumbed in May 1999 after it invaded her bones.
"When it came back, she thought she had pulled muscles in her neck and back and was prescribed pain killers. Later scans showed it as hot spots in her spine and ribs," said Walsh. "She had a bone marrow transplant, which bought her a little time."
The medical bills proved to be draining for the family. Her parents took out a second mortgage on their home and went through their retirement savings to pay medical bills. Their friends, church members, and families held fundraisers to help. Her mother was 53 when she died.
Families suffering in situations like this are the ones Walsh is now trying to help.
A committee from her organization is scanning applications and Walsh hopes to be able to award each deserving applicant at least $2,500 to use as needed.
There are still spots open for golfers, as well as sponsorship opportunities.
For more information or to donate, visit For Her at www.foreher.net, or email email@example.com.